First drive of new BMW 7 Series

By RIZAL JOHAN | 18 November 2015

Driving gets you from point A to point B. Being driven also achieves the same result.

For the latter you can take a taxi or limo service but there is another option. Get a chauffeur to take you around. And for that, you need a certain type of car.

BMW 750Li xDrive - 02

The BMW 7 Series already has that reputation of a luxury sedan since it was introduced way back in 1977.

Now in its sixth generation and being the flagship model of BMW’s line-up, it continues to grow and evolve in the most relevant and stylish way.

The new 7 Series immediately made an impression as soon as I laid eyes on it.

A whole fleet of them was on display along the banks of Duoro River by the Alfandega Do Porto convention centre in Porto, the second largest city in Portugal.

Five cool features in the 7 Series

It consisted of the top-of-the-range long wheelbase 750i/Li xDrive and the sedan variant, the 730d.

This was the starting point of the media test drive and key BMW personnel were on hand to explain the new technological features of the car.

BMW 750Li xDrive - 09
It is fitted with enough wizardry and luxurious accoutrements expected of its class and then some.

But before we delve into that, the first thing you are going to see - like I did - is the car’s all-new design.

The overall look of the car is sleek and aerodynamic with its clean, clearly defined lines that communicate a sense of elegance, style and prestige.

Its imposing only in the most subtle way as one can recognise the status that this car brings just by looking at it.

“Designing the new 7 Series was a challenge,” said BMW Automobiles Head of Exterior Design, Domagoj Dukec, in his presentation to the media.

“We sent our designers to seven cities around the world to understand what’s modern. It had to have precision and poetry.”

BMW 750Li xDrive - 03
This resulted in a larger, already iconic kidney grille with generous amounts of chrome trims and the new Adaptive LED with anti-dazzle high beam headlights (known as BMW Laserlight) which extends all the way to the grille at the front fascia.

It gets harmonious as the body lines and the door handles are integrated and a generous piece of chrome trim is spread almost edge-to-edge in the rear. And chrome housings for the quad tailpipes.

Do you see a pattern here? Horizontal lines and chrome. Modern design and luxury.

It is important to note that the new 7 Series has shaved off 130kg of its weight compared with the previous generation reducing fuel consumption.

It heavily relies on carbon fibre for its lightweight hybrid construction known as Carbon Core.

It doesn’t stop there though because the interior is rather spectacular especially on the 750Li.

BMW 750Li xDrive - 05
It’s a sensual interior covered in fine leather, wood trim and Alcantara headliner, already imbuing the hallmark of luxury but there’s more.

The long wheelbase has the Executive Lounge Seating which is behind the front passenger seat.

With a touch of a button the front seat automatically moves forward giving an additional 90mm of space and a foot rest which extends from the back of the front seat giving the occupant the chance to recline and put his/her feet up.

Also integrated in the Executive Lounge is a Samsung tablet neatly housed in the rear console.

The removable 7-inch tablet contains the Touch Command system which allows you to control the infotainment system and comfort functions such as the massage function, climate control and utilising the Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System with 16 speakers.

A first for a luxury saloon in its class is the BMW Hand Gesture control which is only available for the driver and whoever’s riding shotgun up front.

BMW 750Li xDrive - 13
You are able to use hand gestures which recognises only six pre-defined hand movements for controlling the volume, accepting or rejecting calls and operating the new Surround View camera system.

This offers a 360 degree view of the car and its surroundings including Top View and Panorama Side View for the front and rear of the car.

Now it was time for us to get moving and we were handed the very large and futuristic-looking key fob to the 750Li.

This is unlike most key fobs which is why it is called the BMW Display Key because it has a display screen which gives you information on your car like whether or not you’ve locked it or you can turn on the A/C beforehand to cool the cabin.

BMW 750Li xDrive - 15
The coolest thing about the new 7 Series though, is that the car can park itself.

This is autonomous parking in action. It only moves forwards and back as it is designed to fit in small spaces like a parking garage.

So all you have to do is use the Remote Control Parking function on the Display Key to control it.

You can watch the video of this function below.

Being driven is the best thing about the 750Li. It’s like being on a business class flight but you’re in a car.

Its quieter than being on a plane and very quiet for a car.

BMW 750Li xDrive - 06
The suspension just soaks every rough and uneven surface that you are left with a very comfortable environment with the reclining options, entertainment system and climate control.

Plus, you have the Sky Lounge panoramic sunroof with six choices of ambient lighting when the sun goes down as well the ambient air package with eight fragrances to choose from.

I got behind the wheel and the new 4.4-litre turbocharged V8 engine mated to the eight-speed Steptronic transmission moved this all-wheel drive car effortlessly.

BMW 750Li xDrive - 08
Afterall, the silky smooth engine produces 450hp at 5,500 to 6,000rpm and a whopping 650Nm of torque from as low as 1,800 to 4,500rpm.

The Head Up Display aids you while you’re driving as it projects all the relevant information about your speed, navigation, who’s calling, what you’re listening to among others clearly on the windscreen.

On top of it, the new 7 Series has a long list of driving aids and safety features that is not uncommon for a car of this class.

While it may spout performance figures, this is not what the 7 Series is about even though it goes from 0-100kph in 4.5 seconds.

It is about comfort, luxury and most importantly, arriving in style.

Here’s a list of things we like about the new 7.

1. BMW Display Key
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BMW 750Li xDrive - 17

This is the king of key fobs as it is about the size of a clamshell phone and displays all types of useful information. For example, if you’re not sure whether you’ve locked your doors, the Key will tell you and you can even operate the climate control before you get in the car among other things.

2. BMW Laserlight
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BMW 750Li xDrive - 10
You can’t have “sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads” but you can have Laserlight headlamps which, in laser high-beam mode, provides twice the illumination of conventional headlights without blinding oncoming vehicles as it similar to natural daylight.

3. The Executive Lounge
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BMW 750Li xDrive - 18
If you need to get away from it all and stretch your legs in comfort and luxury then just get in the back of the new 7 Series. It’s really special being chaffeur-driven in an exquisite space covered in the finest leather, ambient lighting and a host of controls at your fingertips through the BMW Touch Command Tablet.

4. BMW Gesture Control
BMW 750Li xDrive - 13
Get behind the wheel and you can control certain pre-defined functions with hand movements such as volume control, accepting and rejecting phone calls as well as manipulating the 360 degree view of the car via the parking aid to clearly check your surroundings.

5. Remote Control Parking
BMW 750Li xDrive - 15
Another cool function is that this car can park itself remotely without the driver inside. It’s designed especially for getting in and out of very tight spaces. Just use the BMW Display Key to engage this function and the car will take care of the rest.